A FOOTBALL-mad teenager will be given a touching send-off today, buried with the boots of his hero.
Preston North End player Paul Gallagher has donated the signed blue boots to the family of Dylan Crossey, who was killed in a suspected hit-and-run aged 15.
They will be placed inside Dylan’s coffin for his funeral this morning, with hundreds expected to attend.
Teresa Barton, the auntie of Dylan Crossey, said the family have been overwhelmed with kind gestures from friends, strangers and Preston North End FC, after the sports-mad 15-year-old was killed in a suspected hit and run.
The move was instigated by Heather Buckel, of fan group North End Soul, who knew Dylan was a big North End fan.
She said: “Massive thanks to Gally, who was Dylan’s favourite player, for giving me his boots to put in his coffin. Can honestly say Dylan will be chuffed to bits with them.”
Paul said: “I understood that I was one of his favourite players. I’ve got children myself and Preston North End is a family club, where the supporters and the players get on great. So I was pleased to do anything I could to help.”
Paul has worn the blue Umbro boots a few times in training, and says he would have worn them for matches.
He and wife Hayley have also sent a picture of Paul with Dylan to the family, from a time when they met at the PNE training ground.
Teresa Barton, Dylan’s auntie, said: “Paul Gallagher, bless him. We’ve been overwhelmed that people have taken the time and have thought of us. Paul Gallagher was Dylan’s favourite player and he would have been over the moon about this.
“Preston North End have gone above and beyond, nothing has been too much trouble, and we can’t thank them enough.”
The family were at Deepdale on Wednesday night for the 3-1 home win over Huddersfield. On the 15th minute of the match, all 12,800 people in the stadium rose to their feet for a minute’s applause for Dylan, with his picture displayed on the big screen.
Teresa said: “It was amazing, we were so proud.”
The funeral will take place today at 10.30am at St Teresa’s Church in Queensway, Penwortham.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend, with speakers installed outside the church for people who cannot find seats inside the building.